I’m sitting here writing this and still asking myself, will I ever get the time back at SHU that I lost? The unfortunate answer is no, but then I began to wonder what I could do during this time to make things feel the slightest bit normal. That’s where the #ThanksToSHU campaign came to life.

Coming into senior year, I had to take the Senior Project course. Trust me when I tell you, I had not a single clue what I wanted to do. I couldn’t even fathom the fact that I was already a senior in college; moving into my freshmen dorm room in Roncalli still felt like yesterday.

Well, the time came that I had to decide what I wanted to do. I went with a website that would be my digital portfolio and a supplemental blog. In my website, I share special projects from the classroom, professional experience from my internships, and my news writing work from taking News Writing and Reporting with Professor Kabak. In my blog, I wrote about a wide variety of things, from COVID-19 to my leadership experiences at SHU.

If you want me be to be honest, the website and the blog got boring going into second semester and I wanted to change it up. I was thinking of other ideas and that’s when a light bulb went off, what about a social media campaign? I have experience with them from previous internships, so I thought it was a great idea.

It took me a little while to actually come up with my idea of #ThanksToSHU. How did I think of this? I’ve always wanted to show Sacred Heart University how appreciative the student body is for everything they do and provide us with. I figured this would be the perfect way for the Class of 2020 to express their gratitude.

I thought of different ways to define this campaign and decided on it being a social media campaign of soon to be graduates thanking SHU for the experiences, opportunities and memories received in their four years.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about starting it. There was definitely a delay. I didn’t think people would take me seriously and yet again, I also didn’t want to believe that I was graduating very soon. I created the account and it sat there for a while, until the end of March (I’m mad at myself for this still).

We were already home for good by this point because of COVID-19 and I reached out to the Class of 2020’s Student Body President, Anthony Smith, to kick off the campaign. I couldn’t think of anyone better, being that people call him the “king” of SHU.

He did an absolutely amazing job and his video really gave me the morale boost that I needed to get this going. Once one person goes, they nominate another person to go next and that’s how the campaign keeps moving.

It came to my surprise how willing everyone was to participate in the campaign, it really made me realize what I was doing had a meaning and a purpose to the Class of 2020.

Oddly enough, the campaign started at the best time and made me realize how everything does truly happen for a reason. The #ThanksToSHU campaign really gives me a way to connect the Class of 2020 even though we’re currently apart.

Although there are only fifteen videos on the account, it still feels surreal. Listening to everyone’s SHU stories is so rewarding and fun. But don’t worry, I will be continuing the campaign even after we’re technically alumni (if people are willing to of course).

Now that you know everything you need to know about the campaign, I want to touch on my #ThanksToSHU story briefly.

Being a first-generation college student isn’t easy, there are a lot of pressures put on you and it can be really hard to deal with. Coming to SHU was a huge accomplishment for me, I never thought I’d make it to college, especially to an amazing university like this one.

Freshmen year wasn’t an easy one, I missed home and was second guessing my decision on coming to SHU. But my roommate, Amanda, who is also a member of the board, helped me get through a lot of my hard times. She’s still one of my greatest friends.

I thank God every day for not giving up on SHU, I wouldn’t be who I am today without the guidance and mentorship I’ve received from professors, advisors, etc. SHU really became my home away from home and my safe haven, I’d do anything to be there right now.

I joined a sorority, shout out to Kappa Delta. I became a Resident Success Assistant (RSA), then a SRSA (Senior Resident Success Assistant) my senior year, a member of two honor societies, and became involved in the amazing Spectrum newspaper. All of these organizations have shaped me into the leader I am today.

There are not enough words in the world to describe how grateful I am for SHU. I could go on forever, trust me. But if you’re an underclassmen reading this, please cherish every single moment you have at this incredible university. It goes by so quickly, quicker than I ever thought.

It’s going to be hard sometimes, I’m definitely not going to tell you college is easy. You will grow as a person, as a student, and as a leader. SHU will not only shape you, but it will also shape your #ThanksToSHU story. Make it your own.

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